Netgear has just announced what it says is the world's first Wi-Fi phone for Skype. The SPH101 allows you to make free calls to other Skype users via any 802.11b/g Wi-Fi network -- with or without a PC.
The Skype client software comes pre-installed on the handset, and you can flick through your contacts (up to 200) on the colour display. Netgear says the SPH101's battery will last 20 hours in standby mode and give you 2 hours of talktime. Recharging is done via USB.
If it works properly, we reckon the SPH101 could help Skype reach the masses. The service is great, but we reckon it's still too nerdy for the mainstream PC user. Currently, making a simple Skype call involves booting your PC, boring yourself senseless waiting for the hourglass to turn to an arrow cursor, wiring yourself up with a headset, and finally launching the Skype application.
With the Netgear Skype WiFi Phone SPH101 you just have to press a couple of buttons on the handset and Robert's your father's brother. It's available now for around £160. We're going to get one, you should probably do the same. -RR